Introduction and Background
Radio is still the most consumed medium in Africa. There are more than 20 private and community stations in Namibia, with eight of these stations situated in Windhoek. Community stations are a vital medium as they facilitate a two-way communication process, which entails the exchange of views from various sources and allows members of a community to gain access to information, knowledge and entertainment. It is in its purest form an expression of that community. The objectives of the station of facilitating freedom of express and access to information and knowledge are consistent with the strategic objective of UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for education, the sciences, culture and communication and information. One of the main lines of actions in the UNESCO Programme and Budget for 2014-2017, is “promoting an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety, facilitating pluralism and participation in media and supporting sustainable and independent media institutions.” Community radio stations are critical in promoting freedom of expression, access to information and knowledge and in influencing public policies.
Against this background, a community station for the transitioning Polytechnic of Namibia, to a University of Science and Technology, allows the university community members to have a platform that is immediate, to share their views, ideas and opinions about the environment which they occupy. NUST FM is instrumental in facilitating enhanced community engagement and forging collaboration between stakeholders. The station enables the community members and the public at large, to understand what education and services are being offered at the institution as well as current and future events within the community. NUST FM essentially functions as a mass medium platform to showcase the innovation happening within the community.
The primary goal of N.U.S.T FM is to disseminate information, pertinent, to the target market, as well as to transfer skills and provide a training ground for all the staff at the radio station. Practical training in journalism is important, in view of the institution hosting a centre of excellence in media education. The other various positions at the station, will be run on an ‘internship’ basis and include a multidisciplinary team, that will allow the students to, not only apply their academic knowledge but their work at the station will therefore, count towards their academic deliverables.
The station will be a tool to reflect the newly transitioned Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) community. The radio station will function as a platform, to showcase not only the facilities offered by the institution and its industry partners but also what can be offered by the community members themselves i.e. the community services that the students offer, such as basic computer assistance or sale of goods, any activity the students use to generate or supplement their income. Every action of the station must fulfil two primary goals, to inform and to advance community members.
Content for the station must at all times reflect the community, in which the station serves. Therefore, 40% of the output must be localised to the NUST community, this includes the satellite facilities located nationally. 30% is designated for national content, with 10% regional (southern Africa) and a further 10% to cover international content.
A strict adherence to equality will be enforced for any programming output and to ensure this, a programming committee by the community members was established.
The overall aim of the programming policy is to educate, inform and raise awareness in all matters relevant to NUST community members. Innovation and community building are the cornerstones that N.U.S.T FM
represents in our programming output.